By Daniel Benjamin
The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently the healthiest they have been all season.
Pittsburgh (2-1) could have all 22 of their starters available for the first time this year when they face the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at M&T Bank Stadium. The Steelers have no players listed as out for Sunday’s contest, marking the first time that has occurred all year. This doesn’t mean that no players will miss the game due to injury, as the team listed five players on the injury report on Friday.
The biggest injury concern for the Steelers this week is at safety, where both of their starters are dealing with injuries. Strong safety Sean Davis (ankle) and free safety Mike Mitchell (hamstring) were both limited in practice for the second consecutive day after not practicing at all on Wednesday. Davis suffered the injury in the Steelers’ Week 3 loss to the Bears. Mitchell, who is tied for third on the team with 13 tackles, was hampered by a hamstring injury all preseason and re-aggravated it against the Bears. Davis has 12 tackles on the season.
It is expected that both Davis and Mitchell will be game-time decisions. If neither Davis nor Mitchell are able to go against the Ravens, the Steelers could be in real trouble in the secondary, as their depth takes a major hit. J.J Wilcox and Robert Golden would take over as starters. Wilcox is still trying to learn the Steelers defense, however, Golden is a veteran with the team, and has made 10 starts in six seasons. Wilcox has recorded seven tackles in 2017.
Linebacker James Harrison (Illness) is also in major jeopardy of missing the Week 4 game as he did not practice on Friday and is listed as questionable. Harrison has seen sparse action this year and did not play at all last week.
T.J. Watt and Stephon Tuitt expected to play for the first time in two weeks
Regardless of the status of the Davis and Mitchell, the Steelers will have their starting front seven intact for the first time this season with the return of rookie linebacker T.J. Watt and defensive end Stephon Tuitt. That is fantastic news for a team that just surrendered 222 yards, including all 74-yards in overtime, on the ground to the Bears.
Tuitt has been out of action since the first defensive series in Week 1 against Cleveland with a bicep injury. Watt, in the meantime, had a fantastic NFL debut as he totaled seven tackles—two sacks—and one interception. He also picked up two tackles against Minnesota in Week 2 before leaving in the second quarter with a groin injury. He was close to returning last week, but was not able to get clearance at game-time.
Ravens injury report
The Ravens had three players sit out of practice all three days this week and none of them will play. Starting defensive tackle Brandon Williams (foot) is the biggest loss for the Ravens. Williams, who missed his first NFL game last week, is considered one of the top interior defensive lineman in the game as the 28-year-old uses his girth to clog the middle. The Ravens have permitted 4.86 yards per carry since Williams went out of the game in Week 2 against Cleveland. Baltimore’s defensive front line is also without starting end Brent Urban, who was placed on injured reserve this week.
The other two players who will be inactive against the Steelers because of injuries are reserve tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) and backup cornerback Jaylen Hill (thigh). Williams, who has one reception this season, is the team’s third tight end while Hill has yet to play this year.
On the positive side for the Ravens, tight end Ben Watson (calf) practiced for the first time all week on Friday and is listed as questionable by the team. The Steelers have a long history of having trouble covering tight ends and Watson is no different. Watson, the team’s leading receiver with 11 receptions this year, has caught a career-high 32 passes against the Steelers in nine games.
Steelers full injury report
- S Sean Davis (ankle). Questionable.
- S Mike Mitchell (hamstring). Questionable.
- WR Martavis Bryant (Illness). Questionable.
- G Ramon Foster (Thumb). Questionable. LB James Harrison (Illness). Questionable. .